Warner Music Broadens Its Africori Relationship With a Warner Chappell Sub-Publishing Deal

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Johannesburg, South Africa, where Africori’s offices are located (in addition to a London division). Photo Credit: Clodagh Da Paixao

In April, Digital Music News was first to report that Warner Music Group (WMG) had invested in Africori, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest digital music platform. Now, the Big Three record label has broadened this relationship with a Warner Chappell sub-publishing deal.

Warner Music and Africori unveiled their expanded partnership today, in a formal announcement message. The global sub-publishing agreement specifically involves Africori and Warner Chappell Music France, which will “offer new opportunities for African artists to collaborate with top creative songwriting talent from around the world.”

Addressing the high-profile deal in a statement, Matthieu Tessier, who is set to succeed Caroline Molko as Warner Chappell Music France’s managing director on January 5th, said: “This new collaboration offers us a great opportunity to promote new African songwriters and contribute to the renown of their music worldwide. Master KG’s success is a great example of how we can develop talent and help amazing songs to cross borders.”

South African DJ and Africori artist Master KG initially released “Jerusalema” in late November of 2019, though the track first rose to prominence (particularly in Belgium, Switzerland, and other European nations) earlier this year. Also worth noting is that Mdundo, an African music streaming service, generated approximately $6.3 million from an IPO on Denmark’s Nasdaq First North stock exchange in September.

In a statement of his own, Africori owner Yoel Kenan noted the deal’s long-term implications for Africa’s quick-growing music industry: “This new partnership provides a great opportunity to connect our African songwriters and producers with the global talent signed to Warner Chappell. We are very excited about the future and we see this as a key alliance to support, help and develop incredible African talent globally.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching economic effects, 2020 has seen the Big Three record labels take several noteworthy steps to establish a presence in fast-emerging markets around the globe. Universal Music Group in May continued its African expansion by debuting Def Jam Africa, headquartered in both Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

The following month, UMG announced that it would open another African office, in Casablanca, Morocco, as well as a division in Tel Aviv, Israel. And Sony Music Africa, for its part, named Christine Mosha head of marketing and artist development for East Africa today.

Warner Music has also opened offices in India and Vietnam on the year, as well as a second Warner Chappell branch in mainland China.